Working with an insurance agent/broker
7 keys to buying life and accident & sickness insurance the smart way
When dealing with any insurance agent/broker we have many expectations of them about how they will help us understand the products they offer and how they will help us choose a product that will help us reach our goals.
In order for them to do the best possible job for us, there are things that we as consumers of insurance products need to do too to help them out. We need to:
- Be as honest, accurate and concise – Provide the insurance agent/broker with honest and accurate information to the best of your knowledge, and be clear about what insurance coverage you’re looking for, and why. This helps the agent/broker to better assess your needs, and provide you with the most appropriate insurance product options.
- Give reasonable projections or estimates when requesting an insurance quote.You may need to provide the insurance agent/broker with projections, estimates, or assumptions about your personal information to get an insurance quote. Provide as reasonably accurate information as you can — a quote is not an insurance policy guarantee, and a change in your personal information may significantly affect the quote.
- Take the time you need to ensure you understand what you are buying.Ask questions regarding the product(s) being recommended, and make sure you understand what your coverage entails, what it will cost, as well as your own responsibilities in order to maintain coverage.<link to questions to ask>. The financial services industry is full of acronyms. Ask your insurance agent or broker to explain any acronyms you don’t understand.
- Review the restrictions on your temporary insurance coverage.Some forms of life insurance will have temporary insurance coverage while the insurance company is underwriting the policy. Such temporary insurance is usually subject to many restrictions, so take the time to ensure you understand what those restrictions are, and how they may affect you.
- Find out what will happen if you change your mind.Ask your insurance agent or broker what the consequences are if you decide to change or cancel your coverage. In Manitoba when a consumer buys a contract of life insurance or accident and sickness insurance they may rescind (cancel) the contract within 10 days after receiving the policy or within any longer period specified in the contract. If the consumer opts to cancel the policy after the rescission period ends, they would not be entitled to a premium refund.
- Keep a written record of your meetings or conversations with your insurance agent/broker. When speaking or meeting with your insurance agent/broker, take as detailed notes as possible of these interactions, including date, time, and location, especially when:
- You give your agent/broker instructions to act on your behalf to make a change of any type, for examplehanging a beneficiary designation
- The agent/broker confirms important issues to you verbally.
- Read all proposals and quotations carefully.Take the time you need to review the information provided by your insurance agent or broker, and ask as many questions as you need to clarify details.
Following these seven suggestions will allow your insurance agent/broker to do the best job for you, and will also ensure you are informed and comfortable at every step of the process.